Dog Eye Ulcer Treatment

Dog eye ulcers are a common ailment that can be easily diagnosed and treated. Breeds such as pugs and boxers that have protruding eyes are prone to corneal ulcers.

Corneal Ulcers

An ulcer appearing on the eye is known as a corneal ulcer, and is caused when the first layer of the cornea is damaged. This allows bacteria to enter the eye. A corneal ulcer can be superficial or deep. A deep corneal ulcer occurs when the damage progresses to the deeper layers of the cornea. Severe corneal ulcers can affect other parts of the eye and a certain few may even cause blindness.

Symptoms of Corneal Ulcers in Dogs:

  • Squinting
  • Redness
  • Yellow or green discharge from the eyes
  • Pain
  • Excessive tearing
  • Swelling
  • Sensitivity to light 
  • Filming over the eye

Causes of Corneal Ulcers in Dogs

Trauma to the cornea from contact with bushes, thorns or fights with other animals can cause scratches on the cornea. Dirt, debris, hair or other foreign matter can cause irritation and can cause the pet to scratch the eye. This can damage the corneal surface and cause an ulcer. Chemicals in shampoos can also cause corneal ulcers. In addition to this, dry eyes and diseases are other causative factors.

Diagnosis of Corneal Ulcers in Dogs

Direct observation of the ulcer with the use of a diagnostic stain or dye can help the vet diagnose a corneal ulcer. The dye is absorbed by the ulcer, giving it a greenish hue. The presence of foreign objects and hair inside the eye are also ruled out during diagnosis. The vet will also run tests to rule out a fungal or bacterial infection, as these conditions are characterized by symptoms that are similar to corneal ulcers.

Treatment of Corneal Ulcers in Dogs

Superficial ulcers are treated with topical antibiotics as they clear or prevent infections and promote healing. The antibiotic ointment should be applied 4 to 6 times a day. Painkillers such as an atropine ointment or solution can provide relief from pain, and the use of an Elizabethan collar can restrain your pet from scratching or rubbing the eye and aggravating the problem. Deeper corneal ulcers may require surgery such as corneal suturing, corneal transplant, conjunctival grafts or conjunctival flaps. Superficial corneal ulcers heal within a week of proper treatment, whereas deep ulcers may take a few months to heal.


Anesthetics and topical corticosteroids are contraindicated because they prevent healing and aggravate the problem. Outdated medicines should never be used and over the counter drugs should only be used with vet approval.

The tip of the medicine bottle should be kept sterile and shouldn't touch either the dog eye or your finger. It's best to take your pet to the vet on a weekly basis to assess the healing process.

It's best to ensure that all corneal ulcers are treated promptly because they can cause blindness if left alone. Once the ulcer has healed, you should continue to monitor the eye for any symptoms and take prompt action if you do notice any signs of cloudiness, discharge, swelling or inflammation.